ELWOOD, Ind. – Hundreds gathered in Elwood Wednesday to pay tribute to two firefighters who died in a plane crash last week.
The joint funeral for Kyle Hibst and David Wittkamper took place at the Elwood Junior-Senior High School.
Hibst and Wittkamper died after two planes collided at Marion Municipal Airport on Monday, April 2. The Cessna 150 carrying both men was attempting to take off when the plane struck the tail of a Cessna 525 Citation Jet on the runway.
During the ceremony, loved ones and faith leaders described the two men as selfless and caring.
“Kyle was always there to help, he was the guy that was always around, always doing things for other people,” Reverend Kal Rissman said of Hibst.
“David had so many friends because to know him was to love him,” Reverend Josh Crockett said of Wittkamper.
Hibst and Wittkamper served as volunteer firefighters for the Pipe Creek Fire Department in Madison County. Both men are survived by their wives, and Hibst also leaves behind a young son. Pipe Creek Fire Department chief Richard Shepherd described the loss of Hibst and Wittkamper as the greatest loss the township had ever suffered.
“We lost two of the greatest firefighters and individuals I’ve ever had the privilege to lead. There’s a gap that will never be filled and we’re never going to try to fill it,” he said.
A procession of more than 100 emergency vehicles escorted Wittkamper and Hibst’s bodies through Elwood. Community members lined the streets during certain stretches of the route as the procession passed.
“They were young men that served our community and i think we should honor them,” Marlene Nichols said.
A Ceremony was held for David Wittkamper at the Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Elwood. Kyle Hibst will be cremated.
Anyone wishing to donate to their memorial fund can find that information here.